This 7 Point Checklist for Planning your PowerPoint can help save you from hours of rework and embarrassment.
Creating PowerPoint presentations with Graphics, Video and Text can be creatively alluring…and easier than ever to dive in and get started. But like the speedy rabbit darts ahead of the tortoise, ultimately, the slow yet wise tortoise emerges the victor.
Early on, it’s important to know what your end-presentation venue will look like. Take some time to visit the location of the presentation, or if you’re a speaker, get the details of the meeting room and presentation hardware from the meeting planner or AV team. This will help you to plan ahead and answer these checklist questions, ultimately translating to a smarter, more prepared presentation.
1. Time Manage Your Presentation
Address all graphical and technical aspects of developing the presentation by using this 7 step presentation Time Management approach. <Full Article>
Step 1: Set key goals/objectives, know your audiences’ goals and interests.
Step 2: Establish an overall graphical look and feel and draft a and high-level outline with key sections. Create a storyboard.
Step 3: Get Creative: Shop & tag relevant images for ideas and inspiration.
Step 4: Forge a first draft with key graphics and messages. Give an impromptu test-run- perhaps with colleagues- to see if the presentation flows.
Step 5: Deep-dive on the presentation with research, supporting text/messages and relevant imagery.
Step 6: Practice aloud to get comfortable with your presentation, and make any fine-tune edits. Print out any drafts/supporting material.
Step 7: Get a good night’s sleep, eat well in the morning, and be bold and confident that you’ll ready and successful.
2. Screen Size and Aspect Ratio
Early on, it’s important that you see (or at least know about ) the room and screen where you’ll be showing your presentation.
If your showing the presentation in a on a small screen or laptop, makes sure the minimal size of your visuals can be seen and read by everyone in the room. Remember, if you can’t see it, there’s no point to showing it.
Just as important, make sure your slide aspect ratio – the proportionbetween the width and the height – matches the screen and projector’s or screen’s standard output. The most common aspect ratios are Standard (4:3) and Widescreen (16:9). Most newer conference rooms are implementing HDTVs or widescreen projectors using 16:9. But it’s best to be sure. Sometimes, I’ll encourage my clients to create two versions of their presentations in both 4:3 and 16:9 to avoid any headaches.
3. Operating System, PPT Version, and Connections
By ensuring your presentation will be played on the same end operating system (Mac or PC) and PowerPoint version that it was created (PPT 07/2010/13, etc.), you can avoid last minute trauma and troubles. Though similar, a presentation created in PowerPoint 2007 for PC may display differently in PowerPoint 2013 for Mac. And if your presentation has embedded or linked media, take the time to test that it plays smoothly on the output computer.
If you’re playing the presentation from your own laptop, ensure their cables are compatible with your system…and arrive early to setup and test.
4. Themes, Templates, Layouts + Chart & Table Templates
PowerPoint is much more than just a blank page to write text and insert graphics. Themes, Templates and Layouts help add structure and intelligence while ensuring presentation consistency. Most of the time, companies will have a basic approved corporate PowerPoint Theme/Template (.potx file). These files contain predefined colors, title/body fonts, animations, and layouts. Unfortunately, these PowerPoint templates are often fairly limited, and not well structured, and can limit creative development. If you can, it’s helpful to adapt and modify these elements to meet your specific needs.
When starting a presentation, take the time to know your Theme and pre-existing Layout slides. If you’ll be replicating a specific page formatting/layout often, create a custom layout of your own. (Duplicate, rename).
Do you have preferences for a certain chart type? A certain table type? Tables and Charts can have preset styles (templates) that once defined, can shave hours off intricate design work. Just click to apply your pre-defined chart (or table) template to any existing chart or table.
Predefining and knowing these features can help you create a professional presentation with greater consistency and efficiency.
5. Look and Feel
Although the theme, templates and layouts work maintain a standard look and feel, it’s up to you to work to stay within- or deviate outside- those creative boundaries. More often, it’s vital to maintain respect to the company branding and styles. Some companies have a Visual Style Manual that goes into detail about all placement, logo, and color issues. If you’re presenting at a conference or conventions, organizers often place restrictions on what you can- and cannot use in your presentations. Better to know what’s expected ahead of time than be blasted by the branding police for being too deviant.
Still, it’s important to consider what the overall look and feel of your presentation will be…and whether it’ll be more reflective of you or your company. Will it be light or dark? Colorful or monochromatic? Will the animations and transitions be wild or tame? Establish the standards of your presentation’s look and feel with an early sign-off by management, and you’ll avoid any last-minute entanglements.
6. File Size and Distribution
Early-on, it’s important to be aware of any technical limits of your network or email.
If you’re working on a 200-page data-heavy PowerPoint, it can get snarled by a network or be rejected by email! Ensuring your presentation is small enough to be transferred over the network or by email is critical to avoid any late production problems. Consider a file-sharing service to exchange files; Dropbox and GoogleDrive are easy and commonplace. If the file is still too large, split it into two separate logically-named files (part-1.pptx and part-2.pptx). Plan ahead and be ready to meet your deadlines.
7. Presentation Resources
Like a movie director, producing a PowerPoint presentation takes planning and preparation. Don’t try to do it all yourself.. Presentation resources can be anything from a stock photo website, to a presentation design agency, to a colleague providing input and analysis. Make sure they’re ready and you can use them to make your presentation great. By having presentation resources ready to assist you in creating or delivering your PowerPoint, you’ll be more confident, prepared, and ready to present like a pro!
Even before the first slide is created on your next presentation, applying a presentation checklist will help you reduce rework and troubles, while keeping a clear line of communications and expectations…helping everyone to look like a presentation expert.
Geetesh Bajaj contributed to this article.
How a new approach to presentations could spur economic growth
The economy is hurting. And all around the world, companies are cutting corners to cut costs. And cutbacks on the design of professional presentations are indirectly affecting the bottom line, as companies tackle the writing, design, and delivery of these vital communications tools in-house. But during these trying times companies should be increasing – not decreasing – their investments in professional presentations. If companies around the world recognized the importance and ROI of a professional presentation, we could have a well-needed shot in the arm to the global economy.
Presentation Design for the everyman
For many years, presentation design was the domain of an elite group of audio-visual marketing designers. But with the release of PowerPoint 2007, everyone was able to create sophisticated graphics with ease. SmartArt, multiple masters, and a host of other features made it simple and fast for anyone to create great-looking slides. Secretaries were now tasked with the design of the average office PowerPoint presentation. And many mid-level managers are forced to handle the development of the presentation themselves. And because PowerPoint is woven into the psyche of every educated person since the earliest days of school, most executives are comfortable with the application these days to help communicate their key concepts. But knowing how to use PowerPoint, and knowing the art and science of presentation visuals are not the same. Just as easily as PowerPoint has helped people to make good slides, it’s just as easy to make bad-looking slides too, explains Geetesh Bajaj of the website Indezine.com. “It’s easy to create great slides in PowerPoint; it is easier to create bad slides, especially if you do not have some design training.”
Many corporate PowerPoint presentations are designed by someone with a general knowledge of PowerPoint, and with minimal experience of presentation design or delivery. Consequently, these presentations often have diluted messages, or a home-made appearance, that detract from the professionalism of the company brand or image.
Corporations must recognize the importance of The Presentation. Firms frequently spend millions of dollars on marketing and branding, but handle their presentations in-house. Consequently, the visuals don’t reflect the true professionalism of a company, and weaken the marketing and sales efforts for front-line sales reps, who all-too-often are called on to create their own presentations.
By investing in presentation training for their in-house team, or hiring outside presentation designers for key projects, companies can achieve a world-class presentation design with a focused message…while keeping the economy moving.
Bare Bones: Cutting back on professional presentations
In the past few years, presentations have taken a more relaxed and informal style. As dress codes have relaxed in workplaces, so has the formality of the presentation. There’s less emphasis on glitz and glamour, and a greater focus on just the message. It’s easier than ever to find free and basic PowerPoint templates online. But these economical templates often lack the graphical sophistication and subtle nuances that more professional packages offer. Gary White, president of PresentationPro, an Atlanta-based company specializing in presentation designs and templates says his sales are down, as consumers seek cheaper ways to present their information. Ultimately, he says, “this is diluting the professionalism of the presentation and hurting the U.S. economy.”
In many corporate meeting rooms, there’s been a shift from elite and chic to average and acceptable. Presentation design and artistry is not as important anymore. People don’t seem to care as much if a white screen with 10 bullet points are on screen.
Presentations are often viewed as discussion documents, rather than a visual tool to tell a story. Most people want something grand and glorious, but ultimately, they feel more comfortable cramming gobs of bullets, text, and graphics onto a page.
If companies want a true ROI on their marketing and presentation efforts, they should invest the time and money to contract with a true presentation expert, or create a position in-house for a presentation specialist.
A new approach to presentations will boost the global economy
This economic downturn has translated to a reduction in professional PowerPoint designs and contracting with outside agencies. But during this time of financial challenges, companies should be exubrarent about their presentations. Everyone should be presenting, sharing the glories of their companies and initiatives! The “presentation” should be creative portals to our brains and ideas….as we capitalize on all the modern technology; graphics, video, webcasts, and social medial connections the modern world offers.
A company talking by phone to a prospect about their services is adequate. Integrating a web-based presentation or remote presentation tool could give them a competitive advantage. So many companies are still using the web in a two-dimensional style. Creating surveys for feedback, full screen graphics, animated text, can all set them apart from others…translating to a greater positioning as the industry expert…and driving traffic and sales.
By looking at the big picture of the power of a presentation, a company can gain a competetive advantage and boost in their sales. And if all companies revisited their presentation marketing strategy there would be a solid return on investment, that could jumpstart our economy, putting all players back on the path for greatness.
It’s easy to create great slides in PowerPoint; it is easier to create bad slides, especially if you do not have some design training.
How the iPad is transforming the presentation industry and sales market through great and simple iPad presentations in Keynote
iPads and Apple Keynote are amazing presentation tools.
Terry Brock is 50. But he’s acting like he’s 15, bouncing around the Apple store, clutching his new iPad. Like a proud father showing off his newborn child, Terry is gleefully showing-off the fantastic features of Apple’s newest “magical and revolutionary” device. With three rapid finger points, Terry’s iPad becomes a presentation tool, opening up a clean and simple training presentation in Keynote.
“The iPad has helped me to make a better cleaner presentation, ” explains Brock, a business consultant and professional speaker. He says in the first two week he owned his iPad, his sales marketedly increased.
This compact iPad has transformed the way the world presents…overnight, as business professionals, speakers, and trainers awaken to power of the iPad for presenting complex messages with ease and simplicity. Marketing departments are snatching them up en-masse, adapting their corporate overview presentations and company videos for their sales teams to get a leg-up over the competition.
Linda Schaub of Interim HealthCare in Fort Lauderdale, Florida says the healthcare firm invested “thousands of dollars” to help their sales force communicate the company’s services and win more business with greater agility.
Sales leaders can focus on the client and not be distracted by the computer. The iPad is a non-obtrususive and reliable medium to help communicate the objectives our our meeting. Studies show that people remember 20% of what they hear, and 30% of what they see, but 50% of what they hear and see. A well-designed presentation with colorfully rich graphics, vibrant video, and high quality audio, will undoubtedly be noticed by audiences, helping the presenter to make a mark.
Apple’s Keynote software already has a perceived edge over PowerPoint for effects, power, and elegant simplicity. The iPad allows these Keynote and PowerPoint presentations to be shown easily and simply…delivering the outside world – your presentation – to your viewer in a face-to-face and interactive approach. A well-designed presentation with text, graphics, video, audio, and interactivity – delivered by a qualified professional on a new iPad – is sure to win new clients and close more sales. PowerPoint users need not despair: the world’s most common presentation tool has a place in the iPad heart. Presentations developed in PowerPoint can easily be shown or converted on the iPad.
Simply delivering your message from an iPad sends a message of technological savvy and sophistication, affluence, and hipness. The iPad is not about creating content…but consuming it. All too often, people get caught up in the creation and editing of a presentation on a laptop or desktop computer. The iPad will leave that presentation development back at the office, allowing us to focus on the audience and the message more than ever.
Companies like PresentationPro are on the forefront of cutting edge designs and products, including their popular PowerPresenter Suite, a set of 7 tools designed to supercharge PowerPoint and help iPad presenters.
Whether it’s a casual conversation about a strategic opportunity over lunch, supplemented by visuals, or a full Keynote presentation with video testimonials, case studies, animated charts/statistics, and dynamic text points, the iPad is sure to advance our ability to share, show, and connect. Presentation has never been so much fun!
Kevin Lerner is a presentation consultant, Trainer and PowerPoint/Keynote Design specialist for The Presentation Team based in Washington, DC.